January is a popular time to redesign your life. A clean slate. New beginnings. Fresh start. However you slice it, people have been doing this sort of thing for a long time. That’s where January comes from after all — Janus, the Roman god of gates and doorways. Anytime you see an image of Janus he has two faces, one looking back and the other looking ahead.
The only problem with January is it can become more like an endless cycle than a legitimate chance to start over and get some renewal. It that my "New Year’s Resolutions" for example are pretty much the same things year after year: get healthier, be happier, and make more money. No problems there.
But this is a bit annoying. Every year I’m rehashing the same goals. The good news is that I’m super clear about the things I value as the years go by. These things don’t change too much. The bad news is that I must be doing something wrong. Why else would I be drawing out this same exact list every time the calendar flips over?
Values are the Foundations of Goals
Obviously, I value health, happiness, and wealth. Every year, I’m concentrating on these parts of my life and finding things I don’t like and beginning the year with some goals of improving them. So what’s wrong with that? I thought you’d never ask…
The big problem here is specificity. Healthy, happy, wealthy. That sounds great and all, but how exactly does one define healthy? What does it mean to be happy? And wealthy? My ideas about all three of these things are changing all the time.
It’s a great idea to build resolutions around values — you pretty much have to do it that way if you hope to have any success at all. It’s not a great idea, though, simply to list your values as goals. Values aren’t goals. Values provide the foundation to build goals. Goals are something altogether different.
What the $#@#! is a Goal?
A goal is something you seek out that, generally speaking, has a very tangible thing going on. Usually, a goal has a "Point A to Point B" nature to it. You start somewhere without this thing you’re after and then eventually — after some effort and pushing — you end up with the thing in your possession (or something damn close to it).
For example, let’s start with something one might value and build a specific goal out of it. Let’s say I value travel. I really do, so this is a perfect example. If I want to create a goal out of traveling, then I’ll need to set an objective that I can start moving towards. Maybe my goal will be to take a trip around-the-world from Los Angeles, California across the continents and back again in the span of one year. Now we’re talkin’ goals folks!
We can break this goal down even more so we can see exactly what needs to happen in order to bring the goal to life, or to manifest it into reality. Money, time, logistics — all of these elements will need to be addressed for this to work out. If the trip will take one year, then you’ll need some way to get away from work or to manage your work remotely. If you’re going to hop from one country to the next until you make your way from one end of the globe to another, you’re going to need to plan flights, hotels, and all the other arrangements that go into good trip planning. And, of course, you’re going to need a wad of cash to make it all happen.
Things seem to get more complicated at this stage of goal-setting and goal-planning, but actually the point is to make things easier. Before, the goal was just a fantasy in your mind. But once you start unpacking it, you begin to see what’s really required. This is the essential part of reaching your goals: understanding exactly what needs to happen for the dream to transpire.
Setting Goals for 2010
All right, back to my confused list of values. So I know that every year I come back to health, happiness, and wealth again and again. This year, for 2010, I’m going to come at this in a new way. I’m going to get incredibly specific about my goal setting. With my three value areas in mind, I am approaching 2010 with very detailed goals that will fulfill my desire for greater sense of health and fitness, overall happiness, and more financial security.
Goal #1: Financial Breakthrough
Target: $1 Million in Total Business Revenue
Deadline: December 31, 2010
My first goal is primarily financial in nature, but also has a lot to do with my overall happiness. Anytime somebody tells me money can’t make you happy, I cringe. I know money itself doesn’t create happiness, but I also know that it can and does go a long way towards empowering me and positioning me to have a more enjoyable, fulfilling, and thus happier lifestyle.
2009 was the best year for my entrepreneurship projects so far. Total sales revenue far exceeded my expectations for the year, especially after bringing on board a salesperson to help with the daily customer service workload, phone calls, and order processing.
2010 is going to be even better! I have numerous new product launches we’re going to take underway, and I’m tremendously excited about each and every one of them. Plus, I have some great new ideas for marketing and promotions to help reach out more to my existing client base, attract new customers, and improve education around our products and services.
As I continue offering more streamlined Internet Marketing services, I have found it increasingly important to educate clientele. Unfortunately, lots of web marketing firms are just in it for the quick buck and will often sell products and services that don’t really benefit clients. My goal for 2010 is to increase the overall size of our marketing clientele and business-base by adding more services — each of which will add tremendous amounts of value at an affordable price to the client’s online marketing efforts.
My objective is to increase the size of my business to reach the $1 million mark by the end of the year. I am quite confident that I can achieve this goal, but I realize it’s going to take some solid effort and some major action.
Goal #2: Physical Fitness & Mental Clarity
Target: Learn to Surf and Paddle Board
Deadline: December 31, 2010 (results much sooner, of course)
Now that I’m living on the beach in Malibu, it’s time to start attacking one of my long desired personal goals — learning to surf. I’m going to start by learning to paddle board. It’s winter now, and this will be a great way to improve my balance, get comfortable on the water, and get used to manipulating a board on the ocean.
I’ve attempted surfing a few times at a very young age but never with much success. From what I can tell, this is a sport that’s going to require lots of effort and discipline if I expect to excel. But I think it will contribute to my overall health and happiness by providing a nice outlet from work and life. Plus, I’m a huge fan of the marine life, so it will be great to spend more time closer to nature.
2010 – The Year for Business and Lifestyle Design
I hope you’ll take the time now to plan out some similar goals for yourself in the coming year. I’ve chosen two goals here simply because I want to really focus on my values while also staying true to the two things I like writing about and talking about on this website — success in entrepreneurship and personal lifestyle design.
Being successful in business isn’t just about making money and owning assets – it’s also about creating exactly the kind of life you want to have. But creating takes time and effort. It also requires planning. Setting goals for the coming year is the perfect way to start planting your seeds now so you can make the most of the year ahead!